Third Time the Charm

Fort Weyr - Northeast Bowl
The northern end of the bowl can be an intimidating area, being that Fort is the largest weyr. The far north wall contains the gigantic opening to the hatching caverns, and to the west of that can be seen the sprawling ledges and carved stair cases that mark the way to the administration complex and the training grounds were candidates and weyrlings can often be found. The west cliff wall towers up, dotted here and there by darker openings that mark individual weyrs before it tapers to a point at Tooth Crag.


Spring is steadily turning to summer. The days are growing longer and warmer and with the Weyrlings now into their fifth month of training things are beginning to intensify. So much so they've probably little time to enjoy leisurely time outdoors unless it's part of their lesson. Today they've spent most of the morning indoors with the more dull studies or the not-so dull dragon care and healing lectures. M'icha has been particularly torturous of late by making them pour over visualization and formations but the Weyrlingmaster has his reasons! They've all been working on unmanned flight for a month now and today, on this afternoon, he's picking the Weyrlings off one by one. Duck, duck, duck… « You are both needed in the north bowl, » Aycheth informs Hallenayth in his usual brisk manner. « Straps on and secured and your rider in her gear. » No helmet, no jacket, no boots? No lesson for you.

The pair are perhaps not quite as prompt to the bowl as M'icha would like; Hallenayth leads the way with her bullish neck arched with excitement while Lucy follows looking a little bit like hell with sleepy eyes and crazy hair. At least the straps are on the dragon and the gear is on the rider. Hally would never let them leave the barracks without a multi-point inspection. Lucy's salute to the Weyrlingmaster is precise if not completely snappy, and Hallenayth half-extends her wide wings.

M'icha isn't entirely thrilled by the less-than-prompt arrival from Lucy but he saves his usual snarky remarks withheld. Shifting his weight off his bad leg, he'll make his way over to where the weyrling pair have stopped. He returns the salute, followed by a smirk as he gives Lucy a quick glance over. Nothing missing? Good. "Enjoy your nap?" he mutters in his usual gruff manner but his attention is soon on Hallenayth. He spreads his hands outwards, gesturing for the green to extend her wings fully. "If you don't mind?" These examinations are routine now too. With physical demand ramping up, the Weyrlingmaster is going to be sure they're all fit for it before giving the okay-go. "She stretch at all today?"

Lucy saves her snark as well, settling for crinkling her nose at M'icha the moment he turns his back. For her part, Hallenayth is bright-eyed and ready for action. She unfurls those oversized wings for inspection, excitement clear in her whirling eyes but standing solid as a moss-covered rock. Lucy makes an adjustment to her goggles and replies, "This morning, sir. Before all the lectures."

"Good. Means we won't have to waste as much time then," M'icha grumbles as he makes his way around Hallenayth, studying those oversized wings carefully. If she hasn't been struggling with unmanned flight, then he will likely hold only the usual concerns that come with first manned flights. Stepping back, he gives a satisfactory nod. "Have her do one repetition of the wing stretches while I go over what you'll be doing." Crossing his arms over his chest, he'll wait until that request is done before moving right along. "Just like we did with unmanned flights, we're working on take off and landing. You're going to start at this end of the bowl and when the way is clear, she's to take off and fly to the other end of the bowl and land. Point A to Point B," he stresses heavily. "Nothing fancy and nothing too high. Got it? If you both can do it at least five times without her tiring out or you getting too roughed up then we'll see about letting you fly for a small chunk of time." Deal?

Hallenayth works through her stretches slowly, making sure even these small actions are perfect, while Lucy sneaks in a couple of eye rubs while M'icha is describing the next task. "Got it," Lucy affirms, ducking under one wingsail and making her way to the green's side to wait for orders to mount up. Now Hally starts to show more excitement, muscles trembling in anticipation. Or perhaps it's anxiety; there's a soft mental murmur audible to nearby dragons. « Wings like this. Legs here. Chest out. Stomach in. Lu, what if I get it wrong!? I watched the grown ones but I'm smaller! » Her rider lays a hand on the green's foreleg soothingly. "It'll be fine, love."

"Mount up then and buckle in. When you're both ready, go ahead." Get on with it! M'icha will be watching. No pressure or anything! Aycheth is nearby as well but the blue remains settled comfortably. There's no need for the blue to demonstrate anything as the green will be flying just as she's been practicing. Only difference is her rider is along for the ride this time! If he notices or senses any anxiety, he says nothing. Maybe this is a test too?

"I don't weigh that much, darling," Lucy murmurs with wry affection to the green before hauling herself up. There's a bit of scrabbling at the last, which earns her a stern head-turn and Look from the green. « You should be better at that by now. We will have to practice. After this. And after dinner. » M'icha, watch out for your job! Lucy settles resignedly between Hally's neck ridges. "Okay, we're going," she calls by way of warning, and the green spreads her wings and leaps into the air. Point A to Point B, but her movements are stilted and the landing…well, her landings are never things of grace, but this one is jaw-jarring.

M'icha grimaces when Lucy scrabbles up those straps but it's too late to scold now. Watch out for his job, indeed! He'll watch, shielding his eyes against the sunlight but using Aycheth as well to track their progress. Jaw-jarring landing or not, the Weyrlingmaster is swift with his next order: "Again!" he barks, the same request echoed by his blue for Hallenayth to transfer along. So long as Lucy isn't that badly hurt (or her green for that matter), he wants them to come back. Rinse and repeat!

Lucy isn't hurt…well, not hurt enough to stop, and she hangs on to the straps while Hallenayth lurches around and, well, repeats. There is a notable lack of 'King of the World' going on; the young woman seems grimly determined more than anything. Hally's return flight is as stiff as the trip out, and the landing perhaps even worse than the first one. Lucy has her turn around for another run anyway, and the green's apologies spill into the ether, polite but tinged with distress. « I am so sorry, I don't know what is wrong with me today. »

« You need to relax, » Aycheth's advice likewise trickles in to Hallenayth. « You're stiff and tense and that makes you land hard and rough. Loosen up. Your just flying! » She can DO this! M'icha is frowning, head cocked to the side as he takes a longer look at the pair. "Holding up okay?" he calls briskly to Lucy before she has Hallenayth take off again.

"Uhm…" Lucy grimaces at M'icha's question. "It's kinda making my stomach…weird." Hallenayth cuts a sheepish look at Aycheth and moves her wings up and back like a boxer shaking out his arms before the next round. « Yes. Relax. I can do this, it's only Lu there. »

M'icha snorts and doesn't seem surprised in the least. "You'll get used to it." How long will it take? THAT he doesn't elaborate on. "Try again and see if you can't land smoothly." Third (or fourth and fifth) time is the charm, right? « If you weren't capable, he would never have allowed you to try. You can do it! » Aycheth encourages Hallenayth further. « You can fly fine on your own and you can hunt now on your own. » She's becoming a big girl now!

The third try…well, it's better, true. But it's not great. Hallenayth hangs her head. "I need to talk to her for a minute?" Lucy half-claims, half-asks, though she looks like she could use the time herself to work on reducing the slight greenish tinge her complexion has taken on.

"Go ahead!" M'icha will allow a short time out and even be nice for once and remain a polite distance away while Lucy has a moment with Hallenayth. Granted, he won't be patient forever so she best not push her luck. Already he's working on a few mental notes to scribble away later about their progress.

Lucy dismounts and shakily makes her way around to Hallenayth's front, reaching to pull the dragon's blunt muzzle down to her chest. And it's a big girl muzzle. After casting a surreptitious glance at M'icha to make sure he's not eavesdropping, she soothes a hand over a headknob tells the green softly, "Look, I know you don't want to hear this but you're thinking too hard. Sometimes it's okay to just…jump into something without thinking about it, you know?" Loud snort. "I promise. You're the best flier. You got this. When I say go, just go." One more pat and Lucy's back on. "Okay. We're ready."

Nope, M'icha isn't eavesdropping. He's observing but he's deaf to the exchange of words. Promise! That and he's half focused on digging out that ever present flask from some hidden pocket somewhere and taking a quick nip from it. No one saw that either! "Mount up then and go!" he instructs her and he'll be waiting to see if there's marked improvement!

After a trail of « Don't think don't think don't think »'s march past Aycheth's mindspace, on the fourth takeoff there is improvement. Hallenayth still moves with the clumsiness of draconic youth, but after the first successful landing, the delight fuels her to ever better performance. Lucy even loosens up enough for a tiny "Wheee-" cut off by a particularly uncomfortable swoop. On the final triumphant arrival, Hally carols a joyful, « I didn't think! »

« Better! » Aycheth's praise is short but no less sincere. No comment on the 'not thinking' part but there is a brief ripple of amusement from the blue. Something that almost echoes in M'icha. "Now it's starting to come together," he says as he approaches them after they've landed. "Think you've got it in you, both of you, to try a good five minute stint? Take off, circle the bowl and then land." Simple, right? No pressure. "If not, no matter. You can go about your usual routines." Which means back to studying or straps or some other not-so fun but necessary thing to do.

Lucy clenches and unclenches the straps, looking atypically uncertain. Hallenayth does not have that problem. « We will go, » she tells Aycheth firmly, and Lucy follows up with a resigned shrug at the Weyrlingmaster. "We'll do it. She's not tired, and if we don't I will never hear the end of it." Does Lucy have it in her? Probably, though five minutes aloft may ensure her last meal is no longer in her.

She'd not be the first one to lose their meal, whether it be from flight sickness or just plain 'ol anxiety. M'icha grimaces but nods and gives her the gesture to carry on. "Five minutes and no longer. One lap and keep your altitude at a minimum. Nothing fancy!" he stresses again even when he doubts they'd pull such stunts. Once they're aloft, M'icha will observe again and wait for them to land. A quick check-in, some words of advice (if they can be called that) and then they'll be dismissed. All in all, a successful start!


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